It’s time to talk about fairy tales!
Which is generally my favourite subject, except that these two books I happen to be mini-reviewing today are…not my favourite. This is sad. I am the sad. I always have such high expectations for retellings, so maybe I just demanded too much. But let’s get to it, shall we?!
Thank you to Bloomsbury for the review-copies!
SILVER IN THE BLOOD BY JESSICA DAY GEORGE
★★✩✩✩ // published September, 2016
As spoiled society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about their mysterious Romanian relatives, the Florescus. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their family, find proper husbands, and-most terrifyingly-learn the secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, bound by a centuries-old tradition to do the bidding of the royal Dracula family and it is time for Dacia and Lou to take their place among the ranks. But when the devilish heir, Mihai Dracula sets his sights on Dacia as part of his plan to secure power over all of Europe, the girls choose to fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might. Only the dashing Lord Johnny Hardcastle and the mysterious Theophilus Arkady- members of a secret society charged with ridding the world of monsters-can help Dacia and Lou, but breaking the shackles of their upbringing will require more courage than the girls ever imagined.
Apart from the awesome fact it’s a Dracula retelling…I was disappointed. My main wails come from the fact it reads like a stuffy historical romance, with minimal actual, you know, DRACULA CATASTROPHES. Rich setting but tedious storyline. #sad
- DRACULA!! RETELLING!! Because that’s cool and we need more obscurely told folklore.
- It’s set in Romania. Which is freakishly awesome. I officially want all the Romanian food immediately. And it mentioned similar places and names as in And I Darken, which is a book I read and loved earlier this year. So I felt like I knew a bit of the history already which made it all COOL AS PINEAPPLE PIE.
- There are castles!! Which is obviously where I plan to live eventually.
- It features dark dysfunctional families and dark secrets. I do enjoy a seriously creepy mysterious family who live in creepy castles and have a creepy grandma and like to terrorise the country. Good times.
- The protagonists were damsels. It’s dual narrated by Lou (known as being “fat and shy”) and Dacia (known as being “thin and spunky”) because that’s a cliche I’ve never heard before. But their personalities SWITCHED halfway through the book. It was a disorientating pendlum swing?? Wut now. I swear Dacia spent 78% of the book crying and needing to be rescued.
- The “dark family secret” was predictable. HELLO THERE IS A WOLF ON THE FRONT COVER. Am I not to assume the “secret” is how the family can shapeshift????? But it takes over 100 pages to get to that point. So all this “mystery” was not a mystery and that was tedious and dull.
- Too many boys. Not enough personalities between them. I can’t even tell you the difference between them all. They all ended up as couples in the end and I was like: “Wait, rewind to the part where we had chemistry between them? I missed it???”
- The villain was downright pathetic. The atmosphere for villainy was glorious here, but the villain could not destroy/take over/rule the world…unless he had a wife. I’ve rolled my eyes so far they fell out. Of course if you’er a super powerful shapeshifter you MUST HAVE A WHINY TEENAGE GIRL WIFE before you dominate the world. Your game is weak, son. You need to sit down.
- Too many dresses. Not enough shapeshifting. Like, dude, stop fluffing about in taffeta AND BE A WOLF.
STEALING SNOW BY DANIELLE PAIGE
★✩✩✩✩ // published October, 2016
Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave …
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …
A melted popsicle would’ve been less disappointing. I AM ALL THE SAD. I’m a huge fan of Dorothy Must Die but what was going on in Stealing Snow??? It was feature so many cliche tropes that I actually winced.
- It features a “mentally ill” protagonist who is not mentally ill at all. This trope frustrates me so bad because it’s damaging to people who ACTUALLY SUFFER WITH MENTAL ILLNESS. When Snow was 6 years old she “walked through a mirror” and cut herself up and was committed to an asylum. Say what. She’s six. What kind of asylum would be all “yeah sure we’ll take the 6 year old off your hands for the next 10+ years because of the one random thing she did; she’s totes crazy”. Um, not really. Plus I think this trope is damaging because it basically says “you’re probably a magical princess so stop taking your meds!” Also: why couldn’t we have had an ACTUAL princess struggling with mental illness?! Diverse. Winning. Relatable.
- Instead we get Snow who’s as normal as a vanilla ice cream eaten with a plastic spoon.
- Writing = no go, Joe. Snow had a “super sarcasm” commentary which equalled her being a jerk.
- No world building. No descriptions or explanations.
- OH LOOK A LOVE SQUARE. I freaking hate love-squares. Every single boy Snow met was IN LOVE WITH HER. How do I even care about a girl who says she’s in love with this one. NO THIS ONE! No this one.
- Snow is the most Special Snowflake Of Them All. Only she can defeat evil, rule the world, have super epic powers etc etc etc.
- There were too many retellings mashed up in here. Disney’s Frozen + The Snow Queen fairy tale + Snow White and the Seven Dwarves + some Alice in Wonderland stuff (??) We’re having an identity crisis.
- The cliches just started POPPING OUT OF THE SNOW LIKE DAISIES. And it got ridiculous real fast.
- What words even sum up my disappointment? I feel like my favourite ice cream just melted in my hand.
- My snowball broke.
- An icicle stabbed me in the eye.
- A snowflake bit me.
- The abominable snowman changed its name to Morris.